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Thomas Watson’s Pirelli International Rally 2009

30 April 2009 One Comment

Tom Survives Infamous Killer Kielder

Thomas Watson Pirelli International 2009Friday the 17th of April saw 18-year-old Thomas Watson take to the road to tackle not only the third round of the Kick Energy Fiesta Sporting Trophy but also the second round of the BRC Challenge which is run in conjunction with the British Rally Championship. The rally would be held in the famous Kielder complex which is the largest man made forest in Europe. The Pirelli International Rally, based in Carlisle, provides some of the most difficult stages in Europe. With the Pirelli only being the 18-year-old’s fourth time competing as well as driving a rally car, the young welsh man would compete in the rally with his mind set on finishing after the car suffering with engine failure prior to the event.

There would also be many firsts for Tom. One of which being Ken Bowman, a new navigator that has volunteered to sit in with Tom for the remainder of the season. Ken is an experienced co-driver that has competed for many years in large events such as Wales Rally GB as well as sitting alongside top drivers such as Robert Swann. With Ken being a highly experienced co-driver, hopefully his experience will be of benefit to the youngster in the start of a successful relationship.

With two of the stages taking place on the Friday evening, rallying under darkness would be another first for Watson. With a cautious start from the duo on stage one, the pair went into stage two with more confidence posting an impressive fifth fastest stage time through the Valley ending leg 1 in a credible eighth overall.

Saturday morning saw the start of leg 2 which included four high-speed stages through the Kielder complex. The first stage saw another cautious start from the pair but were still on track for the planned finish. The combination of Tom and Ken seemed to be working as the pair began to post faster stage time throughout the day. The last stage saw the duo set an impressive time to be fourth fastest through the stage, just nineteen seconds behind the leading car.

The quicker stage times saw the pair steadily increase up the ladder to finish in an impressive fourth overall and third in class. Tom stated
“I am over the moon. I came up here just to finish but to have a good result as well really has put a smile on my face. I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my crew who prepared the car perfectly for me. To have someone as experienced as Ken sitting alongside me really has done wonders for my confidence and hopefully we can continue to improve and begin to go places.”

press-lauch-pirelli-2Tom would like to thank Gary from Thomas Plant Repairs and also his father and family for their continued support and patience in preparing the car so that he can continue to contest in the sport that he loves. He would also like to show his appreciation to Gwyndaf Evans and the team at GEM-sport for working late into Thursday night rebuilding the engine on his car.

The 18-year-old will contest a rally over Epynt on the 3rd of May to achieve another signature so that he may upgrade his licence so that he may compete in International events in The Isle Of Man and Ulster later this year.

Update – Onboard video

One Comment »

  • mrs lesley thomas said:

    well done tom!!

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